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Suns lose grasp of early lead

July 17, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI

HAGERSTOWN -- The Hagerstown Suns let the world -- and the Rome Braves -- pass them by on Friday.

The Suns did the right things to get ahead early, but failed to do the right things to stay ahead in the end.

Hagerstown took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but Rome put in overdrive for a come-from-behind 6-5 victory before 3,926 fans -- the ninth sellout of the season -- at Municipal Stadium. The Braves allowed the Suns two more runs without any hits over the final 4 2/3 innings.

"We have to make better adjustments," said Suns manager Matt LeCroy. "We got the big home run in the first, but the guy pitched well after that. We have to bunt and do more, but we didn't have the opportunity because the wild pitches took us out of things."

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Rome starter Caleb Brewer (3-1) had three wild pitches -- and a few more that wandered off without runners on base -- to keep Hagerstown (8-14, 44-48) wondering what was coming. It proved to be too many questions for the Suns to answer.

Brewer allowed four runs in five innings and gave way to Dave Hale to keep Hagerstown under wraps while Rome (12-10, 42-49) stopped fiddling around.

"(Brewer) was wild early, but you could see the ball coming in from good angles and he had a good breaking ball," LeCroy said. "We didn't adjust."

Suns starter Graham Hicks (1-2) held the Braves at bay before surrendering the lead with a four-run sixth inning. Rome fought back from a 4-2 deficit when Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg led off with a double to left and scored on Jace Whitmer's one-out double down the left-field line.

Edward Salcedo drew a two-out walk and Chris Curley ended Hicks' night with a three-run homer to right to forge into the lead.

It put a quick end to Hagerstown's quick start.

Jeff Kobernus started the first by working Weaver for a leadoff walk. He moved to third on two wild pitches before King drew a one-out walk.

It set the stage for Justin Bloxom, who battled Brewer to a 3-2 count before driving the ninth pitch of the at-bat so deep over the wall in right field that Rome outfielder Ramon Flores never moved.

"I was hoping that home run would do more for us," LeCroy said. "(Brewer) was throwing a lot of pitches and we were trying to take him out of the game, but the guy came around and settled down."

Rome got a run back in the third on a one-out triple to right by Matt Weaver and RBI single by Phil Gosselin. The Braves made it 3-2 in the fourth on Joe Leonard's second home run in two days.

Kobernus led off the fifth with a double down the left-field line -- Hagerstown's last hit of the game. He took third when Brewer threw away a pickoff throw and scored on Brewer's third wild pitch.

In the final 4 1/3 innings, the Suns put five runners on base, but they came via three walks and two errors.

The Suns threatened to tie the score in the ninth when Adrian Nieto drew a leadoff walk off Hale and took third when Eury Perez laid down a bunt in front of the plate that Hale threw away down the right-field line.

Kobernus lifted a sacrifice fly to score Nieto, but the Suns left Perez and the tying run stranded at second base.

King led the Suns with two of their five hits.

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